Advanced Bio-Ethanol Feasibility Study In Tees Valley, UK

car and garbage
Imagine running your car on clean fuel made from household garbage …

INEOS Bio has announced that it has started a feasibility study for a plant to convert locally generated biodegradable household and commercial wastes into carbon neutral road transport fuel and clean electricity, using the INEOS Bio technology process.

The £3.5m feasibility study, which includes detailed engineering design work for a plant at the company’s Seal Sands site in the Tees Valley, is being supported by a £2.2m grant from the Regional Development Agency One North East and the Department for Energy and Climate Change. When completed, the feasibility study will inform an investment decision in 2010 for a commercial INEOS Bio bio-ethanol and bio-energy plant.

Speaking about the announcement, Peter Williams, CEO of INEOS Bio, said: “This is a very exciting project. Converting household organic wastes into bio-fuel and clean energy can deliver very attractive environmental and social benefits to the North East and the UK as a whole. Essentially, our aim is to provide bio-fuel for cars and bio-energy at competitive cost without harming the environment, with very low or zero net carbon emissions and without competing with food production.”

“The challenge now, in the current economic environment, is to commercialise in Europe. In this regard, I would like to express my thanks to One North East, the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the National Non-Food Crop Centre for their considerable support to enable this work to go ahead.”

The INEOS Bio process is a combined thermochemical and biochemical technology for the production of bio-ethanol and renewable power from a wide range of low-cost carbon materials, including biodegradable household and industrial wastes. At the heart of the INEOS Bio technology is an anaerobic fermentation step, through which naturally occurring bacteria convert gases derived directly from biomass into bio-ethanol. The process supports high recycling and high landfill diversion rates.

Alan Clarke, Chief Executive of One North East, said: “We are delighted to be making this announcement today, which follows a year of positive discussions between ourselves, the North East Process Industries Cluster, Central Government and INEOS Bio.

“This project offers a very exciting opportunity in the process industries in the Tees Valley, which continues the positive theme of recent investments in this important sector. Biotechnology and biofuels are central to the low carbon future of the process industries.

“This development will be one of the first full-scale demonstrations of these new technologies and will further strengthen the region’s position at the forefront of industrial biotechnology.

“North East England already has the UK’s first Low Carbon Economic Area for Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles. A waste-to-transport biofuel plant will be a significant addition to the new technologies already being advanced here, which also include our electric vehicle charging network and hydrogen fuel.”

Energy and Climate Change Minister David Kidney said: “This is an important project for DECC, the first of its kind in the UK. If successful, the bio-refinery technologies being demonstrated will play a significant role in helping us meet our ambitious renewable energy targets, as well as reducing waste.

“This is another example of the North East’s leadership on advanced green manufacturing in the UK – providing new low carbon, hi-tech jobs in the region.”

It is hoped that the feasibility study will ultimately lead to the construction of the initial commercial phase of a bio-ethanol plant at Seal Sands. Subsequent expansion could turn the initial plant into a fully integrated bio-refinery by 2015.

INEOS Bio is a BioEnergy company working to commercialise and license a highly innovative thermo-chemical and bio-chemical technology for the production of renewable biofuels and renewable power from a wide range of low-cost carbon materials. Its initial focus is the commercialisation of the world’s leading advanced bioethanol technology process to serve the global renewable transport fuels market and the renewable energy market.

INEOS Bio is a subsidiary of INEOS Technologies, one of the companies in the INEOS Group. INEOS is the world’s third largest chemicals company and a leading manufacturer of petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and oil products. Comprising 17 businesses, with a production network spanning 64 manufacturing facilities in 14 countries, the company produces more than 30 million tons of petrochemicals, and 20 million tons per annum of crude oil refined products (fuels). INEOS employs 15,500 people and has sales of around $47 Billion.

One North East is the Regional Development Agency for North East England, with a primary aim to grow the economy of the region in a way that makes it sustainable and competitive for the future. Construction of new Industrial Biotechnology (IB) demonstration facilities will begin soon at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) at the Wilton Centre in the Tees Valley after #12m investment from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and ongoing financial support from One North East. This will provide a new open-access facility with a ten-tonne demonstration capacity – ten times larger than the existing one-tonne capacity at the National Industrial Biotechnology Facility (NIBF) at the CPI. It will be tailored to supporting companies and researchers to develop new products including sustainable bio-fuels, speciality chemicals and materials using biological feedstocks. The project will put North East England at the forefront of Industrial Biotechnology in the UK and will be a facility that is unique in Europe, building on One North East’s long-term investment in the CPI and the NIBF and helping take the region’s process industries forward.

DECC is the UK government’s department responsible for helping us to tackle the unprecedented challenges we face to our environment, our economy, and the future security of our energy supplies.

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